Week 1 – Chapter 1

By September 25, 2015Parents

Week 1-11

Welcome

Welcome to Week 1 of The Best of Friends program! We kick off the first week with Chapter 1: A New Friend. Together we explore engaging activities designed to evoke discussions about meeting new people. We practise initiating and using greetings and managing the feelings and emotions associated with new and existing social interactions!

Chapter one plot:

In the first half of this chapter, we are are introduced to our four main characters: Salma, Coco, Rafi and Lochie. Things on Quirky Lane get off to an interesting start one morning when Coco welcomes Theo, a newcomer in the street and local school, to join their group. Our characters respond differently to his arrival and we explore those various points of view together.

How to use the stories with your child at home:

  • Revise this story together with your child;
  • Discuss your own experiences in relation to similar events;
  • Ask questions about how your child would resolve some of the events described in the story;
  • Explore the emotions each participant experiences with focus on empathy and what each emotion ‘looks’ and ‘feels’ like.

The Activities

The activities in this chapter include pen & paper, art and craft, role play, and puzzle-based activities.

Introductory Question

All chapters begin with questions related to the overall theme of the upcoming story. The questions presented in this chapter relate to people children commonly encounter, such as their neighbours, a new student or their school principal. The questions encourage participants to discuss their experiences of meeting new people, and when, where as well as how often this is likely to occur.

The goals for participants completing this activity are:

  • to learn how others react to meeting new people
  • to compare their own experiences of meeting someone new
  • to learn how others express their social challenges and achievements
  • to practice listening, turn taking and empathising with others
  • to develop a deeper understanding of other participants

Project: Greeting and Acknowledging People

The purpose of this activity is to broaden the participants’ knowledge of the range of greetings people use in different contexts and to give them an opportunity to practice new greetings in pairs. 

Another purpose of this activity is to encourage participants to consider the appropriate use of each greeting. For example, greeting a friend with a “Yo, bro!” and a high-five may be appropriate at the skatepark, but not to greet the school principal.  
The final purpose of this activity is to focus on the school setting and the greetings most commonly used to engage a variety of fictitious characters of different ages. Participants must also consider how a person’s role influences the choice of greeting. This activity also provides participants with the chance to practice new greetings in pairs, before being encouraged to practise greetings in the community.

The goals for participants completing this activity are:

  • to understand which greetings are suitable for different settings.
  • to recognise which greetings are used to greet people in different roles.
  • to feel confident using both verbal and non-verbal greetings.
  • to know how and when to initiate greetings
  • to practise using eye contact and gestures for the purpose of greeting others.
  • to develop confidence initiating greeting and receiving greetings.

Role Play: How to Start a Conversation

Role plays provide a great platform to practise the many skills to be developed in this program. They provide an opportunity for participants to ‘test run’ new skills with same-aged peers in a safe setting. Role plays allow for the use of humour between participants while learning new skills, with the option for gentle feedback from the facilitator. This initial role play focuses on how to start a conversation as a foundation of social interactions. In this program, role play activities are structured in the format of a recipe. They include ingredients and a method, as well as practice scenarios.

The purpose of this role play is for participants to observe their peers practising a ‘to-and-fro’ conversation to better understand the importance of turn-taking, listening, eye contact and staying ‘on topic’. The second purpose of the role play is to provide an opportunity for participants to practise initiating and being part of a conversation with one or more people. Ultimately, this activity is a platform for participants to test out and refine their conversation skills with similarly aged peers.

The goals for participants completing this activity are:

  • to practise being in close proximity to others.
  • to observe how their peers initiate or sustain conversation
  • to practise common conversation starters, e.g., “How was your weekend?”
  • to practise responding to conversation starters, e.g., “Good, how was yours?”
  • to practise building on topics or ideas.
  • to remain on-topic and show interest in others.

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